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Our meat: No antibiotics, EVER!

Piglets Exploring

This week, the CBS Evening News is airing a two-part story on antibiotics in food, the result of a three-month investigation by Katie Couric. It’s a story worth watching. Couric raises many concerns about the practice of giving antibiotics to food animals, primarily the worry that this practice may lead to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that can put human health at risk. As the national meat buyer for Whole Foods Market, I can assure our customers that our standard is: No antibiotics, EVER! We work very hard to make sure that the people who produce our meat have raised their animals without the use of antibiotics, growth hormones* or animal byproducts in the feed. According to Couric, for the past 60 years antibiotics have been used to create efficiencies in meat production.  Antibiotics are added to the animals’ feed or water to prevent infection that can occur when animals are crowded in confined areas.  As well, antibiotics given in this manner promote rapid growth. For instance, conventionally raised cattle are ready for market in about 16 to 17 months, while cattle raised without antibiotics don’t leave the farm until they’re 20 to 24 months old. The extended growth period is a more expensive prospect for a farmer or rancher, but one we feel is well worth it. At Whole Foods Market, finding farmers who go the extra mile and raise their animals without depending on antibiotics is simply what we do. We visit farms and ranches, meeting with the farmers to make sure they meet our standards. kochturkeys__383I hear that two producers who have been working with Whole Foods Market for more than 15 years will be featured in the second part of Couric’s report.  We are pleased to partner with innovative farmers who have been raising animals without using antibiotics for many years, like Paul Willis of Niman Ranch and Duane Koch of the Koch Turkey Farm. Personally, I think you can taste the difference in our meat.  But don’t take it from me – try it yourself! Come by your local Whole Foods Market and ask our in-store butchers about our meat – the best-tasting beef, pork, and poultry you’ll find in a grocery store! *Federal regulations prohibit the use of growth hormones in raising pigs, veal calves, bison and poultry.

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54 comments

Comments

FRANKIE NEAL says …

FROM THE GREENVILLE AREA S C NOW LIVING IN THE FLORENCE AREA WHERE THERE ARE NONE OF YOUR STORES. CAN U RECOMEND A STORE HERE WHERE I CAN BUY ANTOBITICS FREE MEATS ETC... THANKS FOR THE INFO....

Ferdinand Marcic says …

Why do you sell meat at all? Stop feeding the márket. Let the animals have their own lives, help people stay healthier, & clean up the environment instead.

Dana says …

I've looked up WF's standards which led me to the Global Animal Partnership (5 step program) and looked at the section for chicken (I eat chicken the most so I started there). While this blog says WF doesn't use antibiotics at all, the 5 step program says otherwise? I quote, "Version 2.0 no longer requires chickens treated therapeutically with antibiotics, ionophores, or sulfa drugs to be removed from the 5-Step program. (NOTE: 2.5 prohibits all sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics, ionophores, beta agonists, and sulfa drugs.)" Here is where I found it: http://www.globalanimalpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Changes-to-the-5-Step-Chicken-Standards-v1-and-v2.0.pdf I don't mean to be a hater nor do I wish I weren't so cynical (but reality makes you that way) but I want to know the truth. When programs such as this 5-step or certified humane program say they use antibiotics for therapeutic reasons (i.e. when the animal is distressed) - that's BS. The animal isn't supposed to be distressed in the first place and explain to me what you define as "distressed." Is WF selling their meats based on the 5 step program's standards or does WF have even HIGHER standards which includes no usage of antibiotics at all? A clarification is all I ask and please, without the ambiguity, fallacies and gloating. Else I'm back to being a vegetarian and you can say goodbye to my business.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DANA - You are correct that GAP’s v2.0 standards for chicken allows birds to be treated therapeutically with antibiotics. This change went into effect April 1, 2013, when these revised standards were implemented. However, please rest assured that Whole Foods Market does not allow birds that are treated with antibiotics, therapeutically or sub-therapeutically, to be sold in our stores. We believe that good management practices are a better way to maintain animal health.

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